Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Toy Story 3 reel

Now that Toy Story 3 is out on DVD, Bluray, etc. (at least in the USA) I can show you some of my contributions to the film.  I also did a lot of pre-production test animation, but I can't show that here.  Maybe some of it ended up on the DVD; I haven't watched the extras yet!  Anyway, here's the reel, which is about 2 minutes:

And here's a breakdown of the reel:

Operation Playtime - I was responsible for Buzz, Woody and Slinky in these shots.  This sequence was actually completed much later in production, and it was my first time animating these characters.  I found the experience pretty intimidating, and up to this point I had requested to animate the human characters instead.  I think I have a good feel for Woody, but Buzz is always a challenge.

Welcome to Sunnyside - I did all the humans in the first two shots, but I spent most of my energy on Bonnie, as this was her introductory scene.  I referenced my own kids a lot for inspiration.  I had to shoot a LOT of video reference on this film, because I'd never animated such naturalistic humans before.  Getting Bonnie to walk on her knees was kind of a pain because her rig wasn't really built to do that, but I really liked the idea.

In the later shots with Lotso, I animated only Lotso, not Big Baby or the classic characters.  Lip sync on him is really tricky because he doesn't have a tongue, lips or teeth.

Bonnie Playtime - this stuff was really fun to do, and again, I shot a lot of video of myself for reference.  At the time I thought I was pushing the squash and stretch in the face pretty far, but looking at it now I think I could have pushed it further.  This is a pretty typical experience for me.  I did NOT shoot video reference for the running and jumping on bed shot; I decided to work that out procedurally.  I animated in a layered workflow, starting with just her root translates to get the weight and timing of the shot.

I See Andy - I animated Andy and his Mom, but NOT the dog (that was done by Mike Stocker).  This was my first sequence on the film, and definitely the hardest.  I've never shot more video reference for any other scene that I did for this one.  I knew I would have to do a lot of research to pull off convincing full-body humans, and having them pantomime a conversation on top made it even more challenging.  I think I blocked the scene 3 times before I hit on what the director wanted.  It's a shame the characters are so far from camera...

Spanish Buzz - These shots were also hard, but for a different reason.  Trying to find the right balance of cool, crazy and love-struck for Buzz took a lot of work.  We were all animating in the shadow of Carlos Baena's scenes of Spanish Buzz, and I was just trying not to screw up what he had started!  I actually animated these shots to a different voice recording, then when the final actor was ADR'd in, Carlos helped to clean up the lip-sync.  The slo-mo turn of Jessie was fun; I referenced a lot of shampoo commercials for that one.

Goodbye Andy - I didn't animate Andy in the first two shots, but I did all the rest.  The animation on Bonnie's parents isn't the greatest, I know.  I was hoping the audience would be focused on Bonnie, because she's what I spent my time on.  I was glad to get to do a lot of Bonnie work on this film; it's satisfying to feel like you had a hand in shaping a new character, and she will always make me think of my own daughters, who inspired her performance.  For the final shot I was given the freedom to figure out how she and Andy would play together, which was fun.  Getting Andy to fall back and raise his legs up like that was a real technical challenge.  Looking at it now the spacing on his legs feels off, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it.  Note the Totoro toy sitting at the base of the tree.  That felt like the best place to put him.


  1. Super cool! Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. Great to see the shots you worked on, and interesting to hear your thought processes behind them. Thanks for taking the time to share, it's much appreciated!

  3. I Just cryed once again

  4. Great to hear the parts you worked on in this amazing movie. Can't wait for the UK dvd release.

  5. Oh man! I KNOW that had to have been a treat working on those. Looks like a lot of fun! Great job Victor!

  6. Fantastic work Victor. I enjoyed the film more than I ever imagined I could.

    I noticed that totoro was by the tree when I saw it in the cinema & I'm glad that was intentional!

  7. Absolute delight to watch the shots and very inspiring to read how you approached them. My favorite shot in the reel is the introduction of Bonnie, and of course she walking on her knees! :)

  8. I need to go back and watch it again with your shot list handy.